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Being A Professional Poker Player

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One of the common questions I get asked about being a professional poker player is what is my schedule like? People want to know about the glamourous lifestyle and travels of my life. To be frank, the reality of my career is probably not far off of someone else working a normal job. I pride myself on taking my career with the same professionalism as I would in any other line of work. I love playing poker and it makes long hours fly by because I wake up ready and excited to work almost every day. In this article I will outline what a typical poker week looks like for me. I know my typical week is very different from many poker players, but this is what works for me and helps me stay disciplined.

Playing The Game

The bulk of my week consists of playing poker. In terms of what type of poker I play, I describe it as I go in spurts. I’ll spend 1-2 months playing live cash, then 1-2 months online tournaments, 1-2 months live tournaments etc. This keeps me fresh and motivated in my work. Currently, I am playing online 6-max cash roughly 40 hours a week. My goal every week is to log 40 hours of play at the tables. Whether it’s live cash, live tournaments, or online cash, my baseline goal every week is 40 hours of play. This is a nice break from tournament poker for me after 3-4 months of online tournaments and the WSOP. I enjoy the ability that cash allows me to take breaks in the middle of the day for 30-60 minutes. Leading into my next point, I also find vast improvement in my game studying 6-max online play.

Studying

The next bulk of hours for me goes to study time. I shoot for around 10 hours of study a week. Sometimes its 5 but I try for 10. To some people who are not into poker and ask about the job, I use an analogy of a professional athlete. You see them playing on the field 3-4 hours for the game, but their whole life is revolved around their career. They watch film every day, they work out every day, they talk with coaches, visit the trainer etc. Poker is very similar to this lifestyle, at least at the highest levels. Our form of working out is studying away from the tables. Currently playing 6-max cash, I have a few specific study methods. First, I re-watch recordings of myself playing. I play on WSOP.com which doesn’t allow any tracking software. Thus, I’ll record my screen playing in 30-minute increments 1-2 times a week. Mostly I’m looking for my fundamental work, opening ranges, 3 betting ranges etc. I want to know where I need to put in the work. I also want to make sure I’m not making too many huge mistakes playing lots of tables. The bulk of my study work will be theoretical based using Pio Solver. I like to study specific spots and have a purpose to my study. PIO’s most powerful tool in my mind is scripting. This allows me to run a spot, say Button vs BB in a single raised spot over tens or hundreds of flops. Thru Pio-Solver’s powerful scripting function, I am able to generate simulations on hundreds of flops. I am able to learn patterns and categorize flops into specific strategies. I will then begin quizzing myself. I will guess my C-Bet frequencies and sizings for a particular flop texture. This helps me learn to quickly identify good flops for me and what strategies I should be using on them. This sounds complicated, and it is, but I feel this is a VERY effective form of studying.

Poker Coaching

The final 2 categories of my work week provide my fixed income. I provide about 3 hours of work for Poker Coaching a week, including writing this article. In addition to writing articles, I am creating hand quizzes for the site and prepping and performing two 60-minute webinars a month. This is also study and review time for me, so these hours have a duel purpose. I create my content for Poker Coaching from the study and review of my own play. I learn where I need more work because if I cannot fully explain something in detail to someone, then I do not fully understand the topic myself.

Private Coaching

My final set of hours is private coaching for my students. I’ll have 4-5 hours a week of time spent working on coaching. I’ll produce content for them, have sessions with them, prepare for upcoming sessions etc. Again, these hours are duel purpose for me because they are also study hours for myself. Often these hours are great for me reviewing and enhancing my own fundamentals. I really focus on teaching solid fundamentals to my students, so it is great for me to have a constant review of these topics myself.

There is it, a typical work week for me. Adding it up, I am working somewhere around 55-60 hours a week. Not so glamourous right? Some poker players play 20 hours a week and that’s about it. When you get to high stakes, you have the luxury of putting in less hours. For me, I like the discipline of this work week. I think of poker as my career, not just a game I play. I am doing what works best for me to advance my career and be a provider for my family in the future. I go back to the analogy of a sports athlete to close. Poker has become so competitive that you can’t just have 1 foot in. If you want to take it seriously, you need to jump fully in and embrace it as part of your life.

Best of luck at the tables
Matt


About The Author

For years, Matt Affleck has been a force to be reckoned with in the online poker space. He has been crushing the game ever since his historical 2009 SCOOP chop for $470,000, a $3,000 tournament which he satellited into during his college years. Nowadays, you can find him playing live tournaments and cash games in America while hosting live webinars where he provides hand analysis and top-level poker strategy content to our readers.

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